What young pianist-composer living in Paris in the late 1840s could help but fall under the influence of Frédéric Chopin? The Polish composer was at the height of his considerable celebrity; one of the many forms he had popularised and/or invented for the piano was the mazurka; Chopin’s mazurkas made his publishers happy. It would seem from these two Gottschalk apprentice works that any mazurkas would make a publisher happy. Though written when he was seventeen, by the time they appeared in print five years later, ‘L. M. Gottschalk de la Louisiane’ (as he was credited on all his early publications) was a celebrity himself, famous enough for anything bearing his name to sell. Op 6 No 1 in A is pastiche Chopin; the chromatic theme of Op 6 No 2 frames a second episode in E major, repeated in F major. In truth, the most distinctive thing about Colliers d’or
is the title—‘Gold Necklaces’—publisher’s window-dressing if ever there was.
from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2003